Murder case moving forward
September 3, 2014
After nearly a year of waiting for the victim’s family, a suspect in the murder of South Shore man Matthew McMaster was indicted last month and arraigned earlier this month in Maricopa County, Ariz. A second suspect in the case, who’s been in custody since May of last year, had his trial delayed.
Randall Lee Young, who is accused of participated in an effort to get rid of McMasters’ body after his death, presented a not guilty plea at Maricopa County Superior Court on Aug. 13.
DNA that was found during the investigation in 2013 near where McMaster was found took nearly a year to yield results, McMaster’s mother Nancy McMaster said on Friday.
Young, who is charged with a felony count of abandonment or concealment of a dead body, was finally taken into custody following an indictment on Aug. 8. The indictment came after the matter was taken to a criminal grand jury.
Nancy McMaster, who acknowledged the high workload investigators in the area had, said she was overjoyed when she heard Young had been taken into custody.
“It was total elation,” she said. “We were just thrilled that they worked on it at all, they never gave up.”
“We thought it was a lost cause,” she added.
Young’s arrest, which came more than a year after Vroury Manoukian’s, the second suspect, was likely delayed while prosecutors and investigators established probable cause for his arrest, said Jerry Cobb, Public Information Officer for the Maricopa County Attorney’s Office.
Manoukian, who faces charges of second-degree murder – or murder without premeditation – and abandoning or concealing a dead body, was previously scheduled to begin trial on July 29. His trial was delayed until February 2015 after defense attorney Stephen Kunkle entered a motion for substitution of counsel.
Manoukian’s trial was previously continued in May and February.
McMaster’s remains were found tied, on a love seat and burned along with other furniture items in Phoenix, Arizona in in July 2012, according to a probable cause statement filed with the Maricopa County Superior court. He had moved to Arizona months before the incident and lived with Manoukian while they both attended motorcycle mechanic’s school.
Nancy McMaster said that her son had struggled with ADHD in the past, but was finally doing well in school. She also said she was grateful her son’s death came during a high point in his life and not during a low point.
“He was getting straight As and was really succeeding,” she said. “We’re grateful for that.”
The probable cause statement also states that Manoukian said during an interview that he struck McMasters to stop a fight between McMasters and Young.
An autopsy report revealed that McMaster died from blunt force trauma to the head.
Manoukian also reportedly said that he wanted to call an ambulance but that young talked him out of it.
Maricopa Attorney’s Office PIO Cobb said it was unclear at the moment whether the Attorney’s Office would also charge Young with second-degree murder.
McMaster was raised on the South Shore and attended George Whittell High School.